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What to do, see, and taste in this gorgeous corner of Italian wine country.
Everyone who visits Italy wants to get a taste of great wine. And it's safe to assume that most tourists think about visiting Piedmont for some Barolo or Barbaresco, or Tuscany to swill some Sangiovese. But Italy has much more to offer, particularly in regions that aren't the first thought for tourists--such as Valpolicella, in the Veneto region. Even if you only have a day or two to vist, here is our recommended itinerary:
Day 1: Start off with a visit to Villa Monteleone, a beautiful estate in the middle of the region. It's a warm, locally operated winery with a small B&B attached. The tasting room is in the owner's home, right on the property. It's a truly authentic experience, and the Amarone and Ripasso, called San Vito, are both delicious. But don't skip the equally delicious, yet more affordable Santa Lena Valpolicella Classico.
After the small-winery experience, head down the street to Masi, which is one of Italy's larger wine producers. There you'll experience a great tour of the impressive winemaking facility, as well as enjoy a tasting.
After you visit these two wineries, eat at Il Groto di Corgnan; owner Giorgio Soave is assisted by his two daughters in the kitchen. The restaurant is in a converted house, with separate dining areas in rooms on the lower and upper floors. This is one of those places where you show up to eat--and Giorgio just starts bringing out food. There's no menu; whatever seasonal ingredients are available go into the dishes, and the food is absolutely delicious.
Day 2: Set aside time for Verona. From walking the cobblestone streets and grabbing a gelato to catching an opera in L'Areana, an ancient amphitheater, this is one of Italy's most beautiful cities.
What's your favorite wine region to visit in Italy? Tell us below.